In Ílhavo, south of Aveiro, there is a town inside a factory called Vista Alegre. It was the first industry dedicated exclusively to the production of porcelain in Portugal and today it occupies sixth place on the world list of tableware manufactures. This enclave with a factory, chapel, theater, museum, a nineteenth-century neighborhood with exotic trees from around the world and a palace transformed into a contemporary hotel, is celebrating. It is the 200th anniversary of the successful idea of ​​José Ferreira Pinto Basto, a liberal agricultural owner and merchant who brought his porcelain not only to every home in his country, but to the most distinguished tables, including royal homes.

And if every Portuguese table has a Vista Alegre tableware, it is also remembered that the Pinto Basto family introduced football to the country, with a first match in 1886 and the Sporting Clube da Vista Alegre (1915). Likewise, they created the first private fire department in the country in 1880.

To commemorate its bicentennial, the firm has designed a commemorative stamp that will mark and make all the pieces produced and launched this year exceptional. This is the case of the Heritage collection or the Trabalhadores vase, the contemporary tribute by the French illustrator Cyril Pedrosa (1972) to the workers who give and gave shape to the Vista Alegre pieces.

Because the firm is proud of its centuries-old collections, but far from aging, it relies on great contemporary names in design, painting, sculpture, architecture and literature, such as Pritzker Siza Vieira, Joana Vasconcelos, Jaime Hayón, Jean- Jacques Sempé, Christian Lacroix or Oscar de La Renta. Also in the young people who participate annually in their artistic residency IDPool, exchange of ideas and experiences between artists, creatives and professionals in the fields of porcelain, glass and ceramics.

In its bicentennial, in addition to launching new editions, Vista Alegre prepares exhibitions in its museum in Ílhavo and in the national palace of Ajuda (Lisbon). It has also opened a digital exhibition on its website so that its customers can share anecdotes and family memories about the brand and has edited its history in a little book that, among other curiosities, explains that, until the arrival of the train, the tableware was They were transported by camel because on horseback they arrived in pieces. After 200 years of history, this brand is so synonymous with Portugal that even Rodrigo Leão has composed a song for it.